For the past 28 years, Dieter Schlaepfer has been a staple of the AutoCAD team. First entering the field in 1980, he has always been energized by CAD, CAM, and CAE technologies. Here, Schlaepfer shares his role and what he considers his largest accomplishments.
What are your day-to-day responsibilities?
My time is divided between writing, illustrating, participating with AutoCAD feature teams, and interacting with customers.
What is your favorite part of the job?
While I love all parts of my job, I get special satisfaction from interacting with customers and coming up with new ideas. It’s great to find creative solutions to customer challenges, 3D modeling, and to discover more efficient and satisfying ways to deliver information and training.
I would also say that I’m motivated knowing that if I do my job well, it benefits thousands of creative, hard-working people worldwide!
What are you most proud of with your work on AutoCAD?
Researching, documenting, and illustrating a feature so that it’s clear, concise, and obvious to someone learning a feature or referencing Help. It was also such an honor to have had the opportunity and support for designing the first CHM-based “three tab Help system,” for which our team received the STC International best-of-show award for innovation.
What gets you out of bed and into work every day?
The alarm clock and my car. Actually, it’s knowing that there’s so much more that needs to be done to enhance the AutoCAD experience.
Do you have a favorite building, product or cool thing that was designed with AutoCAD?
All the remodels of my house were designed with AutoCAD: deck, kitchen, bathroom, landscape, moon gates, and more. It’s great when you can use your own products for your own projects.
What is one of your favorite stories about interacting with AutoCAD users?
Most recently, I would say it was at Autodesk University and meeting so many customers with a “can-do” spirit. My favorite was a chance meeting with a civil engineering manager for a public utility. This woman completely customized her Autodesk products for maximum efficiency for her users’ workflows. When I asked her what her top wish list request was, she said she didn’t have any—that she always could find solutions to any problems that cropped up. All I could say was, “Wow!”